Motorola-powered Mac from 1989 used to write smartphone apps

Mac SE/30's nine-inch screen is ideal for font-wrangling, says dev, 16Mhz 68030 not so much

26 Reg comments Got Tips?

Our ongoing look at very, very old computers still in production has turned up another ancient artefact in the form of a 1989-vintage Mac that's still being used, for the very modern task of developing smartphone apps.

Reader “Pascal” says he does most of his work coding apps for Macs, iOS and Windows on a 2012 Mac Pro. Part of that work involves using custom typefaces, for which he relies on a program called Fontographer that he acquired in 1996. He's seen no reason to re-acquire or upgrade it since, because he feels the vendor hasn't added any new features he needs.

“The problem is that Fontographer is a bit crashy in emulation,” Pascal tells us. “And besides, I quite like the feel of the Mac that I ran it on originally.”

So he's still running it on a 1989 vintage Mac SE/30 that chugs along at 16MHz thanks to its Motorola 68030 CPU.

Pascal's upgraded the machine with a 1GB hard disk, up from its original 40MB disk, and also found 64MB of RAM because the 4MB it shipped with was pretty lean. He's also added ethernet so he can FTP files between the old Mac and his current computer. The Mac/SE retained the original Mac's all-in-one design, complete with tiny nine-inch screen. Pascal's cool with that.

“That 9” black and white screen is part of the pleasure of using it,” he wrote. “When designing typefaces, colour isn’t needed - and the SE/30 has a very crisp and stable screen. Besides, only 9” of space ensures that I stay focussed - there isn’t enough room to run more than one application at once (the hardware is willing, the screen isn’t!).”

Macintosh SE/30

The Mac SE/30 in all its squat glory

He also rates the machine's keyboard, the famed Apple Saratoga extended keyboard, “still the most comfortable that I’ve ever used to the extent that I also prefer the SE/30 if I’ve got large amounts of text to edit (using BBEdit).”

Pascal's over the SE/30's single button mouse, which he rates as “horrible” and asks readers who might have a multi button Kensington ADB if they'd get in touch.

“I like to think that my SE/30 is the oldest computer still in use to help write apps for modern platforms” Pascal's mail concluded.

Is he right? Do you have the mouse he wants?

Feel free to get in touch to donate mice or tell us of older PCs still in production. ®


Keep Reading

Fujitsu unveils new laptops 'optimized for remote work' – erm, isn't that what laptops have always been for?

Maybe hitting Intel's year-old Project Athena spec counts?

When those new servers you ordered aren't delivered, you probably won't order any more servers - and that's why India's market has shriveled

Except for IBM’s non-x86 boxes which have posted modest growth

Brits swarm Dixons Carphone for laptops, printers, games consoles, fridges, freezers to weather out COVID-19 storm

Online sales up 72%, but retailer warns of impact of store closures

Mystery cloud added 10,000 new AMD Epyc servers in under ten days to handle demand for you know what

Chip challenger announces 40 percent Q1 growth, lowers guidance

The rumor that just won't die: Apple to keep Intel at Arm's length in 2021 with launch of 'A14-powered laptops'

Homegrown chip to shift away from Chipzilla? Hey, it could work

China's Tencent to order ONE MILLION SERVERS as part of $70bn digital infrastructure splurge

Buying all the buzzwords: AI, 5G and Blockchain implementations promised

I'm doing this to stop humans ripping off brilliant ideas by computers and aliens, says guy unsuccessfully filing patents 'invented' by his AI

Bloke tells all to El Reg after US, Euro officials say only 'natural' people can be patent inventors

What do a Lenovo touch pad, an HP camera and Dell Wi-Fi have in common? They'll swallow any old firmware, legit or saddled with malware

Are we doing panic about software updates again? Really? OK

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020